This article focuses on the importance and best approaches to supporting disability in the workplace.
From practical measures to cultural issues, workplaces can reap the benefits of diversification by supporting disability.
Why Support Disability?
78% of disabled people acquire disability during their working life. Whether it’s a physical, learning or mental disability, it can have life changing consequences for an individual and their family.
Businesses, particularly SMEs, will face the challenge of adapting their operations and culture to meet the needs of that newly disabled individual. If your business does not make the effort to adapt, you run the risk of:
- losing valuable talent
- damaging your reputation
- severing your ability to retain or attract diverse talent to your business
- failing to provide equal opportunities to all staff
How Can Businesses Support Disabled Staff Practically?
The benefits to having disabled staff is clear. Not only does your business benefit from their talent, but the diversity that these individuals bring will improve your workplace culturally.
While there are minimum reasonable adjustments that can be made, it is important that organisations strive to offer the best working environment for disabled colleagues.
- Accessible Premises
- Altering Work Patterns
Consider altering working hours or rota patterns to allow disabled colleague(s), to tailor their working day according to what works best for them and their disability.
Not only will this increase staff retention, but businesses can ensure jobs are complete and disabled staff are satisfied with their work routine.
- Modify Work Materials and Equipment
Whether an individual has sight or hearing loss, lives with a learning disability or struggles to use certain equipment due to another physical disability, workplaces can invest in their colleagues, adapting materials and equipment to suit their needs.
1 in 5 adults live with a learning disability. From dyslexia and ADHD, to more complex needs, adapting materials and equipment can be crucial to retain this talent.
Businesses could also adapt by acquiring further forms of equipment which may assist a disabled individual to perform their tasks well and in turn, aid an organisation’s performance.
How Can Businesses Support Disabled Staff Culturally?
While practical measures are crucial to improving the working environment for someone living with a disability, a whole business will only improve if its staff understand a disability, adapting company culture accordingly.
Your business can dramatically improve the lives of disabled colleagues by moving beyond compliance, and ensuring that your culture is inclusive to all, regardless of needs.
- Staff Awareness Training
While physical disability can be easy to spot, mental and learning disabilities can be a challenge. People, out of no fault of their own, may be unaware of what a disability may mean for an individual, and how best they can provide for their needs.
Staff training will ensure all colleagues understand fully the implications of certain disabilities, allowing them to become more inclusive of colleagues and customers dealing with those implications.
- Aim High: Awards
Showcasing how you treasure your diversity, and your disabled colleagues, organisations can improve their reputation, attract more diverse, quality talent as well as ensure all colleagues feel valued and included by the company culture.
Culturally diverse teams, big or small, can help to deliver better outcomes for your business, fostering creatively and inclusivity, while providing equal opportunities for all.